One day in 1582 Galileo Galilei was sitting in a cathedral, watching a swinging lamp suspended by a long chain hanging from the lofty ceiling. Distracted from the priest’s drab homily, he noted each swing was equal and had a natural rate of motion. Galileo was busy with other things for years, including a controversial argument about the structure of the universe and getting tried for heresy by the Catholic Inquisition. But, eventually in 1640, while under house arrest in a villa near Florence, Italy, he found a moment to design a pendulum clock, the result of the swaying lamp’s inspiration so many years earlier. Galileo died before he could complete his project, but the Dutch scientist Christian Huygens picked up on Galileo’s pendulum design and developed the first such clock in 1656.
Since then our timepieces have become smaller, more accurate and more ingrained in our personal space—from grandfather clocks, to wall clocks, alarm clocks to pocket watches, to the iWatch. It’s been said that the wristwatch is “the handcuff of our time.” We inhabit a world that is obsessed with time; just listen to the mantras: “Time is money,” or “Timing is everything,” or “Time flies!”
Yet, when I turn to God of the Bible I find an eternal Being who is not bound by the constraints of time like we are. God is not changed by the passing of time. Neither do the concepts of “late” or “early” apply to a God who transcends our dimensions. I am reminded of a quote by Gandalf in the Lord of the Rings, “A wizard is never late, nor is he early, he arrives precisely when he means to!” So it is with our God—He’s always “on time” because He can freely pass in and out of our time-space universe like a man with a skeleton key to a high-rise hotel. Just as the man with key has access to every room, so too God has unlimited access to every moment of time—past, present and future.
Consider just a few examples:
· The angel of the Lord stopped Abraham’s knife from piercing Isaac’s body just as he was about to the plunge the blade downward (Gen. 22:10-12).
· The Lord guided baby Moses’ basket down the Nile River so that it would arrive at precisely the right moment when Pharaoh’s daughter was bathing (Ex. 2:3-6).
· In the eternal councils of the Godhead there was a specific day selected for the incarnation of Christ, “But when the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman” (Gal. 4:4).
· The Holy Spirit nudged Philip at just the right moment to leave Samaria so he could meet up with an Ethiopian official on a dusty desert road (Acts 8:26-40).
We can trust God’s timing because He can see the whole timeline of events and people with perfect clarity. Don’t be discouraged by a delay. God’s delays are not God’s denials, instead God’s delays are often by design. Just ask Mary and Martha, who thought Jesus arrived at the tomb of Lazarus four days “late” (John 11:32). Psalm 37:7-8 challenges us, “Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for Him . . . Do not fret—it only causes harm.” Trusting in God’s timing is an act of faith that says, “Lord, I am placing my need in your hands and I believe that in Your perfect timing You will come through.”